CAMPBELL | Campbell Fire District No. 1 will hold a budget workshop at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the fire hall to discuss issues raised at a public hearing held earlier this week.
The district’s Board of Commissioners will be revisiting their proposed 2019 budget after a number of concerns were raised by property owners at the hearing.
Taxes under the originally proposed budget would have increased from $101.30 to $164.28 annually for a home assessed at $100,000.
It’s unclear at this point what changes might be made, if any, during Tuesday’s workshop.
The meeting is open to the public, though unlike at the official budget hearing, there's no guarantee of a right to address the meeting.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Larrabee offered extensive explanations of why the district believes they need the extra money, which would raise the total annual tax levy to $227,829.62, from approximately $123,000 in 2018.
The district faces increasing state and federal requirements on equipment and training along with rapidly aging equipment, some of which is already failing -- including a pumper truck that can't currently connect to hydrants.
Residents who spoke at the budget hearing clearly supported the work of the fire service, and generally didn’t question their training and equipment needs.
For many, the question was why such a large and sudden increase was needed in a single year.
Larrabee told the gathered taxpayers earlier this week that in returning to the board after a long absence, he found that many things hadn’t been done the way he might have done them himself.
The fire district is an independent taxing entity which votes on and approves its own budget.
The budget, once approved, is sent to the Town of Campbell, who then sends it on to Steuben County officials to collect the required tax funds.
The town government doesn’t have a say in the fire district budget.